“I’m scared to death to get up here before the congregation like this, but I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to thank all y’all for your many kindnesses and to thank my Lord for His healing. I love Him so and want so much to please Him. I pray this will be to his glory.
“Many of you know about my past experience of having a brain tumor removed May 30, 1974. It all started back in the fall of 1973 when I began suffering, off and on, from what I thought to be depression…” and then I went on and told them about the nine shock treatments, the removal of the brain tumor and having to miss Eleanor’s wedding. I reminded them that “some of you, while I was in the hospital, brought food to our house on a regular basis and continued to do so even when I returned home. Others of you came by and helped Eleanor with her wedding plans. Some even put up shelves and covered them with white material in order to display the wedding gifts. What an outpouring of love and concern! I know God comes to people through other people, and I thank you so much for letting our Lord use you… to help take care of my family when we needed you so badly.
The Lord certainly is at work in Your hearts and we praise him for the Works of compassion He has performed Through you.
“Your many visits, encouraging letters and cheerful cards, the beautiful flowers, your wonderful thoughtful gestures all meant so much to me. As Bennett B wrote in a later letter to Jack and me before he died with ALS, Lou Gehrig disease, ‘Blessed are those who find ways and words to comfort others.’
“2 Corinthians 1:3-4 in the Living Bible says, ‘What a wonderful God we have – He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them the same help and comfort God has given us.’
“I’m so thankful for caring people who are willing to take time out of busy schedules to do for others. Thank you so much. But most of all, I thank you for your prayers. When Gerry P, our church secretary, received word Wednesday that I was scheduled to have brain surgery the next morning, she passed the word around by telephone and many friends (about 100 I’m told), came here to the Sanctuary while the operation was going on to offer prayers on my behalf. When I heard this I was so touched! You cannot know how good and how loved that made me feel. I thank you for each and every prayer that was prayed for me, for I know prayer makes a difference. In fact, I often think, what if nobody had prayed for me…?
I feel that our Lord uses (not causes, but uses or allows) these difficult times of sickness or troubles to help us grow spiritually, for it is in times like these that we realize how helpless and inadequate we are without Him, and learn quickly how very much we need Him. As I lay up there in my hospital bed in Columbia, I felt wholly dependency on Him. I was completely in His hands. He held my future. Fear not, I, the Lord, am in control. I felt His nearness, and His love like I had never experienced it before. I felt a peace and a feel of being ‘taken care of’, a feeling of being ‘wrapped in His love’. It was so wonderful!
“I don’t know why it is that we sometimes have to almost lose something before we can really appreciate it. And I do, more than ever before, appreciate and am thankful for my life and for each day the Lord gives me to live in this beautiful world He has made for us. “I love to begin my day by looking out the window at the warm sunshine, or listening to a bird’s song and envisioning God out there and saying to Him:
Good morning, Lord, This is Your day. I am Your child, Show me Your way.
Or sometimes say: This is the day that You, Lord, have made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.
“I am trying real hard, for my family’s sake, to be a new and better Ashlyn rather than the old, depressed Ashlyn I was. Now Jack says he has a new wife! And then, I say ‘I have a new life’.
Could we bow in prayer please:
“I thank You, Lord, for this day. I thank You for these wonderful friends, who have let You work through them on my behalf. I thank You for my precious family… and for the privilege of coming to You in prayer. I utter this in Jesus’ name. Amen”.